A Common Sense Political And Social Platform For 2004, And The 21st Century
Now Is The Time to infuse every aspect of government and society with the values of ADA, IDEA. Independent Living, MiCASSA, Universal Design/Fair Housing, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, Deaf President Now, the Highlander Statement and the entire spectrum of disability empowerment and civil rights initiatives. The same thing must be done in other nations using the equivalent terms of their cultures.
With The Life Of Democracy Hanging In The Balance, with the crossroads elections of 2004 upon us, it is imperative to rise above ”politically correct” stereotypes and declare a simple common sense agenda for an America dedicated to individualized empowerment for all. Now is the time to shine the light of simple clarity into foggy politics of self-indulgence that is misleading us down the road of retreat and defeat.
The Only Way To Save Democracy is to mobilize all in our personal universes to campaign and to vote for our agenda and its self-evident values, to replace government of retreat with government that will fight for the Dream.
To Bring Our Agenda to the people level, I have created Power Mary, a fictional empowered citizen in a culture of individualized empowerment. Power Mary and her protégés will give every available minute to passionate involvement in the elections of 2004, and beyond. She will repeatedly emphasize that, no matter what we call the values and goals of individualized empowerment, they are essentially the same as the goals of all responsible families, religions, businesses, social and other political groups: empowering all their members to live their full potential.
An Agenda for the Short Run
We Must Continue and Strengthen Our Current Disability Rights Advocacy.
- We must mobilize and educate all we can reach to go to the polls and to vote for candidates who will support disability rights.
- We must demand to be at the policy table with the major rights constituencies. We are 56 million strong, plus uncounted millions more, families, service providers and friends.
- We must support measures like MiCASSA that free people from institutions and backroom poverty by offering them the choice of community based services.
- We must fight to defend, strengthen, enforce and make available to all ADA, IDEA, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Patient’s Rights, 504, the Fair Housing Act, the Air Carriers Access Act, the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act and all disability rights law.
- We must fight to defend, strengthen and make available to all independent living, accessible quality education, vocational rehabilitation, accessible technology, accessible transportation, affordable homes, supported employment, interpreter services and other empowering programs.
- No waiting lists.
- We must pass and implement the Family Opportunity Act.
Power Mary: ”These are all profoundly important initiatives because they result in immediate increased quality of life for millions of Americans. Of equal importance, they are powerful seeds of an America that empowers all.”
An Agenda for the Long Run
It Must Be Firmly Rooted In -The Value Of Victory For All
This will mean changing the definitions of victory – of success, responsibility and productivity. Success must no longer be defined in terms of gaining symbols of prestige that make you feel superior to other people. Responsibility must no longer be defined in terms that permit lifestyles with major investments in conspicuous consumption, spectatorism, elitism and escapism investments in pushing people down rather than lifting them up. Productivity must no longer be defined in terms of raw dollars only.
All human action must be measured in terms of increasing the quality of life of each and of all in the interdependent continuum which is individual, society and universe. Producing a million dollars worth of cigarettes or landmines is not the same as producing a million dollars worth of personal care assistance. The passionate effort to live conspicuously better than others and pursue frantic escapism is a game that guarantees a majority of losers, including a growing poverty gap.
History has taught us again and again that those who think they are living successfully without taking responsibility for others are suffering a self-defeating illusion resulting in poverty, hate, war and terrorism. Eliminating this ancient stereotype will not be quick or easy. It can only be accomplished by passionate advocates like you and me and Power Mary. Our message: the success of each is necessary for the success of all.
Power Mary will advocate and live the new values. She will not have the big dollars to compete with the advertisers of ”I’m-better-than-you-are” consumption and with major media escapism. She will have the profound power of living the truth. While she is struggling toward the promised land of universal empowerment, she will marshal all her resources, however meager, to create a life of conspicuous beauty, for herself and for all in her personal universe. As with Ghandi, living simple truth is a powerful weapon for change.